Mediterranean Diet – Good and Good For You

The Mediterranean diet has long been said to have significant health benefits. Finally, a long term study has been performed which demonstrates these benefits.

The Mediterranean diet includes moderate fish and poultry; avoidance or a low intake of red meat and dairy products, high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals. Wine is encouraged in moderation. In this study the bonus was either more olive oil or 30 g of mixed nuts per day (15 g of walnuts, 7.5 g of hazelnuts, and 7.5 g of almonds).

Previous studies have indicated benefit from this diet. The latest study is a randomized trial which compares two different Mediterranean diets: one including extra-virgin olive oil and another with nuts, in comparison with a low-fat diet.

The results were so good that the study was declared finished early. 3 major cardiovascular events were prevented per 1,000 person-years. Or 1 per 333 people/years or one more way to look at it: “relative risk reduction of approximately 30%, among high-risk persons who were initially free of cardiovascular disease.”

Mediterranean Diet

 

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The End of History: Not! Carpe Decus (Seize The Decade)

As the New Year starts it was propitious to find an article titled “The End of History Illusion“. While this may sound like something that Francis Fukuyama would write, it is actually an article written in the current Science Magazine by Jordi Quoidbach et. al.

“At every stage of life, people make decisions that profoundly influence the lives of the people they will become— and when they finally become those people, they aren’t always thrilled about it. Young adults pay to remove the tattoos that teenagers paid to get, middle-aged adults rush to divorce the people whom young adults rushed to marry, and older adults visit health spas to lose what middle-aged adults visited restaurants to gain. Why do people so often make decisions that their future selves regret?”

Those of us who exercise or those of us who plan on optimizing our exercise program may look forward to greater physical and perhaps intellectual possibilities than those who do not. At each age exercise or not, many think they have reached a peak physically, emotionally or intellectually. This is rarely true, but ultimately it may become true in some sense. The question of “visualizing the positive possibilities of change” wasn’t addressed in this study. But professional athletes do it all the time. I’ve met athletes who are doing excellent and have great current possibilities. One athlete I know in particular, is planning for events that are 3 years off and will not squander his talent by testing it all too soon. The Olympic trials are years off, the athlete is young and he knows where he wants to go, what he wants to do and when.

We all can make 1, 3, 5 and even 10 and 15 year plans. We should never approach life as having peaked. The future holds reams of possibilities. The possibilities morph and change as you go through life, but don’t think you’ve reached your full potential at age 15, 18, 20, 25, 35 or even 40, 50 or 60. Many people have found careers in areas they would not have dreamed of. Many found new sports and events to compete in or hobbies to learn and improve at. Some have found novels to write, operas to compose, and paintings to paint. Verdi wrote what are considered by some to be two best operas after the age of 74: Othello and Falstaff. (Personally, I’d take La Traviata, Rigoletto or Ballo in Maschera over Falstaff). Picasso was creative into his 90’s forever changing his style. Beethoven’s famous 9th Symphony was certainly not his first. Bruce Springsteen still composes award winning albums, Keith Richards is still alive. Even Bob Dylan is singing after a fashion and Paul McCartney is still making music. Jay-Z is still hot and Kanye is getting better. Drake still has a ways to go, but Frank Ocean is getting it on. I’m hoping to see Florence (of Flo & The Machine) recover her voice and have a long career. Poets usually start out fast and then fade but there are many exceptions. Novelists often start late and improve. But, there is no hard and fast rule for every individual, only possibilities. Psy may do it now Gangnum Style, and hopefully he has a plan for the future, although he may very well be a one hit wonder. (At least he is enjoying the gift of popularity which he says was quite a surprise to him).

The motto Carpe Diem should mean more than seize the day, how about Carpe Lustrum (grab for 5 years) or Carpe Decas (get a grip on a decade). Think long, make short term, intermediate term and long term plans. While I wouldn’t recommend that most of us plan a physical peak for 10 years out, you can certainly think in 1, 2 or 3 year time frames. And for intellectual development you may plan out 5 to 10 or more years in advance. For those 10 and 20 year time frames or when starting to plan later in life, you can plan to stay active and minimize your losses. If you are starting off out of shape – you can certainly look for improvements in strength and endurance at virtually any age.

It is not the end of history it is the beginning. Just as a high school or college graduation is called a commencement, you can look at the possibilities of the future as the commencement of the first days of the rest of your life. Make it out to be the best it can be, keep your eyes wide open, work at it and recalibrate as often as needed. Staying the wrong course is never a good option. Not in life, not in politics, not in policy. Get started now on planning for this year and the next 10.

REFERENCES:

The End of History Illusion
Jordi Quoidbach et al.
Science 339, 96 (2013);
DOI: 10.1126/science.1229294

The End of History and the Last Man –  Fukuyama

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution – ( A better book by Fukuyama)

My Generation

Smells Like Teen Spirit (More than a Feeling)

Live Data and The Future of Search (from 2009)

Or perhaps a little less. But ask me on Twitter or Friendfeed or below and I’ll tell you more.

This weekend was spent time updating the main web site. (And also some excercise, some warcraft, a trip to the libary, bringing a computer in for a new fan – working it so hard the fan decided to complain, some reading, and some fun). Added significant material on Turf Toe and a touch on the biomechanics of hamstring pulls. Small update on Gait. Look for hallux limitus, sesamoiditis and more on running gait shortly among others. Don’t forget when searching here, you are only searching the blog. Visit the Running Injuries site for the bulk of sports related information and site wide search.

I’ve been using Woopra to take a look at some live statistics. It adds immediacy to the dead data that resides in the log files. Instead of looking sequentially at sets of data files, I can look at a live picture and see the 4 or 12 to 20 or so people online at once. Much of the data has always been there in the log files, but looking at it live I see:

  • Browser
  • Referral source
  • Screen Resolution
  • Search Term if search engine used
  • Landing Page
  • Navigation sequence
  • Current Page and Other pages surfed to
  • IP Address
  • Country (indicated by a flag)

I can watch, for example, someone referred from google Canada go from the running injury main page to the running shoe list, to socks, to pain in athletes and pain scale, to stretching. And as I wrote this the same individual moved on to top ten tips to avoid injuries and tips for a successful marathon. So I sense some optimism there!

I can see trends occurring. When a series of “running in 50 degree weather” hits from South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, I know it is cold down south. When a bunch of people are suddenly landing on my page on iliopsoas injury, I’ll start to wonder and then find that a popular plot summary page on “How I met Your Mother” linked to that page. When I see many landings on the gait page, I can look and see the referrer, and then assess weak points and add to them.

I’ll look to see how do the search terms measure up to what people find on the page they are looking at. When someone was searching on cuneiform stress fractures, I realized I did not have anything specific on that term and added it in. I also added specifics on a series of other stress fractures and angular relationships of speed work to site of injury in metatarsal stress fractures. Clinical observation backed up by vector analysis indicates the stress fractures move more proximally on the metatarsal. A recent article which viewed applied stresses in relation to trabecular orientation was later added. While some of this may sound highly technical, we try to add it in a manner that is understandable, but is also useful for the student and health care practitioner. This type of observation led me to update many pages over the past week and to generate note pages for many more.

While some speak of google as a future “fail”, they are looking through the narrow blinders of social media alone. Social media serves many functions, but alone it can not be serve as a reference site. Tips, connections, and pointers are among the strengths. Forming connections and communicating with others are strengths. Answers can come quickly. But google still serves up reference material. Articles of recent vintage and hopefully those of enduring quality will come up in google. And while searching twitter, friendfeed and Youtube are both informative and fun. They are useful now and will become more useful in the future. But still, when I want the latest information on a medication, on research or a discussion on literature or date facts, I’m off to google. When I want to hear a current band or a long dead band, I’m off to Youtube. To see exercises demonstrated, I have selected people I’ll check initially, and they often have material at Youtube. When I want to watch a series of people chat on a variety of topics it is off to Friendfeed or Twitter. More and more sites will have integrated multi-media now that we are on the high speed data highway. Other search mechanisms will come into play. Google seems to have been adapting well to this.

Evaluating the utility of portions of my site: a tiny bit over 100 follows on Twitter. A small number of people, so small, that I can say all of whom I like and respect following on Friendfeed. A relatively small number, but growing number of visitors to the blog. Over the past year, however, the main site served up well over 1,000,000 pages to over 750,000 visitors. With Woopra, I can watch the visits for short bits of time and learn what people are looking for and what may be lacking. Twitter of course is not a place in which I am trying to stay “on message” or develop  a  “brand”, but a place for general information, social interaction and a tiny bit of fun. Another Twitter Fail, but in a sense for the rest of the site, hopefully it remains a helpful internet resource and success. It remains free with no advertising. And google remains a great place to reach it from. (Along with some very special non-search engine referrers.)

Each site must add what it needs to reach and communicate with their users. In some cases a blog is the most useful portion of the site. The immediacy of a recent entry, and the poignancy of an older one add value. Timeliness is a strength of social media. From that was so yesterday, we are at that was so 20 minutes ago. But in some cases up to date details are what make the site. In some senses Wikidpeda does this, but subjective opinion lingers for too long on far too many areas. Evaluate your site and determine how you can make it better. Employ tools that will help you see what your visitors are coming for, what they are looking for and relate that information to what they find. Determine your own goals, both those who are looking for information and those who are building it. We can all do better. And we can chat about it on Twitter and keep each other updated on Facebook. Oops viruses, and malware, this may be a new Facebook fail potentially on the rise. Many areas of the US Government and private businesses  are eliminating in office Facebook access. But social media disease spread through social web interaction  is another story. In the meantime, I seem to be eliminating the Facebook apps and their annoying notifications.

Have fun on the web and on Web 2.0. Be careful, enjoy, and I hope you find what you are looking for.

Sweet Dreams (but lost memories) (repost 2009)

A more appropriate title might be sweet forgetfulness. Higher blood sugar has been found to impair memory. Researchers conducting studies on older individuals using functional MRI found less blood flow in critical brain areas in those with even moderately elevated blood sugar. Since glucose tolerance, the ability for the body to appropriately handle glucose and normalize blood sugar declines with age, this has significant implications for aging individuals.

The major protective activity from elevated blood sugar caused by impaired glucose tolerance is exercise. Here we have another clear reason why exercise is good for us all. More details at the New York Times: http://tinyurl.com/Sw33ts

Sugar Sugar – The Archies
Sweet Dreams – Classic by Eurythmics

Barefoot, Flipflops and Plantar Fasciitis (repost 2008)

On the npr website is a spot by reporter Allison Aubrey on this topic. Allison came by earlier this week and interviewed me on foot problems and footgear, along with west coast podiatrist/pilates instructor Colleen Schwartz, DPM. Allison did a great job on putting this story together, is very nice, and has much high quality health information available at the npr site.

NPR Spot on Barefoot, Flipflops & Plantar Fasciitis

Summer Hydration Tips (repost)

Avoiding Heat Stress Injury

  • Drink adequate fluid 30 – 45 minutes before exercise and then a cupful every 10 – 15 minutes while exercising.

    Hydration: Drink adequate fluid 30 – 45 minutes before exercise and then a cupful every 10 – 20 minutes while exercising. After exercise, drink to satisfy thirst. Some research has indicated that thirst mechanism may not be as effective a gauge of water needs for the over 40 or for the young athlete. Drinking fluid, while exercising and after completion will help speed your recovery. Sport replacement drinks may be superior to water at longer distances and times (over 60 – 90 minutes). The electrolytes and carbohydrates in them will also help speed your recovery from the stress of fluid loss and your long distance run. Somehow they do seem to taste great in the heat and the good taste encourages you to drink more and replace your fluids.

  • Acclimatization: Gradually build up your tolerance for running in warmer weather.
  • Stay Fit and don’t overestimate your level of fitness: Individuals with a higher VO2 Max are more tolerant of heat tolerance than those with a lower level of fitness.
  • Watch your health: Make sure you are aware of both medical conditions that you have and medications that can affect your tolerance of exercise in the heat. Medical conditions affecting your heat tolerance include diabetes, high blood pressure, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, obesity and fever.
  • Dress Cool: Wear light weight shorts and a singlet rather than a tee shirt, to permit evaporation of perspiration.
  • Avoid overhydration for long times of exercise in the heat. In fact, try to avoid training for long times and distances in mid day heat. Read and become familiar with the concept of hyponatremia, particularly before competing in events which will keep you exercising for 3, 4 or more hours.
  • A carbohydrate-protein mix at the conclusion of exercise may help your recovery. Lactaid Milk with a Protein supplement and “Chocolate Milk” mix might work quite well.